"Freedom of expression, protests should be allowed if safety measures are taken"

MP Rozaina Adam has stated that opportunities should be provided for freedom of expressions and protests on the streets of capital Male’ after taking precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Two protests were held on the streets of Male’ on Monday morning. The police blocked the areas around parliament to prevent protestors from getting near the parliament house. The police have been urging the public to comply with the orders of the Director General of the Public Health, which prohibits gatherings of more than three persons in the current public health emergency.

Referring to the issue, MP Rozaina published a tweet advocating to allow protests, stating that the public must be provided with the opportunity to protest as the lockdown measures in Male' have been relaxed to a great extent. She added that the freedom of expression is a fundamental right assured by the constitution and that it should be allowed.

“I feel that opportunity should be provided for gatherings if the instructions provided the Health Protection Agency such as keeping social distancing and wearing masks are followed,” said Rozaina.

One of the protests was held by the opposition stating that the police services bill has been structured in a way that the parliament members can exert undue political nfluence on the police. The protest began around 10:00 hrs on Monday, which continued for about half an hour without any interruption from the police. The protestors left the area on their own after their protest.

The other protest was held by a left-wing political group “Navaa Navai” in the parliament house area. Their concern was on the parliament’s inaction to assist the people socioeconomically impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. The protest began about 08:00 on Monday morning. The police officers patrolling the parliament area dispersed the protestors of Navaa Navai within a few minutes after the protest began.